NHS Pension changes could spell midwife exodus
- Published on Tuesday, 15 November 2011 10:23
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Nearly half of midwives responding to a survey on proposed changes to NHS pensions said they would consider leaving the NHS if the pension age rises to 68
The survey of midwives is published today (Wednesday, 15th November 2011) by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) on the second day of its Annual Conference in Brighton.
It paints a picture of a profession feeling undervalued by the Government despite coping with a serious midwife shortage, and a birthrate racing ahead of the maternity services ability to cope.
The level of midwives’ anger towards the people coalition is reflected in the survey’s results, with just 9% of respondents saying they feel valued by the Government. Added to this just 13% of respondents feel that maternity services are valued by the Government.
The survey also revealed deep fears about job security in the profession with over half (51%) of respondents saying they had concerns about job cuts and the threat of redundancy.
One of the main sources of midwives’ anger is the increase in the pension age to 68. A vast majority (91%) said that they we against this and almost half (46%) said they would consider leaving the NHS if the age increase goes ahead.
The last figure is deeply worrying given that the NHS in England is short of nearly 5000 midwives. Also, over a quarter of midwives are over 50 and approaching their retirement age.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Midwivesare seeing their pay and pensions under attack by a Government that has also frozen their pay for the last two years. It is a government that refuses to acknowledge the profound shortage of midwives in England. It is no surprise that many midwives may to choose to simply walk away from the NHS if proposed changes to their pensions are thrust upon them.
“The NHS pension scheme last year paid £2 billion more to the government than it took out. This is not a pension scheme that is unaffordable, it is one that is helping to prop up our economy. The strength of feeling on this is palpable and the results of this survey should make the politicians and policy makers sit up and take notice.”
The RCM is supporting the day of Action on 30th November, though it is not balloting its members on industrial action on this occasion.
The full results of the survey can be found at on the RCM website at www.rcm.org.uk from 6am tomorrow (Wednesday, 16th November 2011). A copy is available on request before then.